The NBA League Pass makes watching NBA games extremely convenient but there are sometimes restrictions, called “blackouts,” in place that prevent you from watching live games in particular regions.
If you’re in a region where the games can’t be televised live, you might get an error saying the game you’re trying to watch is “blacked out.”
Luckily, you can spoof your IP address with the help of a VPN and circumvent NBA League Pass blackouts without traveling to a different region. You can connect to any region in the world with a VPN and watch international live games from abroad.
How to bypass NBA League Pass blackout
Here’s how you can bypass NBA League Pass blackouts with a VPN:
- Pick a reliable VPN. We recommend ExpressVPN.
- Download and install the VPN you prefer.
- Connect to a server where NBA League Pass isn’t restricted.
- Open your NBA League Pass account.
- Start enjoying the NBA game!
What are blackouts and why might they happen?
NBA League Pass blackouts happen when you try to watch a live NBA game in a region where it’s not permitted. It detects your IP address and if it sees you’re in a blocked region, it displays an error.
You can’t watch NBA games everywhere due to licensing issues. Various networks acquire exclusive rights to different NBA games before the start of an NBA season, which prevents other networks or platforms from airing those games live.
This is where NBA League Pass comes in. It’s a subscription-based service that gives you access to on-demand NBA content. Unfortunately, if you’re in a region where an NBA game is blacked out, even NBA League Pass won’t let you view it because NBA games whose rights are exclusively held by certain networks aren’t licensed for distribution in every region.
Using your IP address, NBA League Pass can detect your location. The IP address assigned to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will give away your location to any outside party. The NBA League Pass asks for your permission to use your location (without which it won’t work). This allows it to see where you’re located.
If you try to access a blocked NBA game, you’ll most likely get the following message:
Based on your current location, you are unable to view LIVE [name of the teams] games. You can listen to a live radio broadcast or watch an archive of these games 3 days after broadcast.”
You’ll also not be able to watch any nationally broadcast games on NBA League Pass. These are games that are broadcast on ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV.
A blackout only lasts during the live game broadcast, so you’ll be able to see the game after the original live broadcast.
Best VPNs for NBA League Pass
We tested some VPNs with NBA League Pass and we found the following 3 to be the best. Here are the top 3 VPNs you can pair with NBA League Pass:
NordVPN is a fast, reliable, and widely-used VPN that you can use to bypass NBA League Pass blackouts. It has over 5,000 servers in 59 countries so if there is an NBA blackout in your state, you can easily find a nearby state to connect to. If there is a national blackout, you can connect to the nearest country and circumvent the restrictions.
NordVPN has a feature that encrypts your data twice. It has tons of other features that will protect your online data while allowing you to watch your favorite NBA games live from anywhere in the world by spoofing your IP address. NordVPN is also available on other platforms so you can bypass NBA League Pass blackouts on your phone as well.
You can get NordVPN’s 2-year plan for $3.69 per month.
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for accessing geo-restricted content. (Source: nordvpn.com)
ExpressVPN is another fast and popular VPN that you can use to watch NBA games live on NBA League Pass. The good thing about ExpressVPN is that it has servers in 94 countries, so you get a lot of options in terms of the regions you can connect to.
ExpressVPN also has an intuitive phone app and you can use it on multiple platforms and operating systems. ExpressVPN will encrypt your data and automatically connect you to the fastest server available so you always get the best speeds while using NBA League Pass.
ExpressVPN’s yearly plan is available for $6.67 per month.
You can use Surfshark on as many devices as you want. It’s not as well-known as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, but it gives you access to a huge catalog of servers in 60 countries and its WireGuard tunneling protocol will give you the best speeds so you can watch your live NBA games without any buffering.
You can easily change your IP address with Surfshark and use the NBA League Pass to watch NBA games without encountering a blackout error. It has a “Camouflage Mode” that will make it look as if you’re on the open network, which can be important if you’re in a country where VPNs are illegal.
You can subscribe to Surfshark’s 2-year plan for $2.05 per month.
Change your IP address with a VPN to bypass NBA blackouts. (Source: nordvpn.com)
Bypass NBA blackouts with a VPN (Workaround)
We tested VPNs to bypass NBA blackouts on both PC and mobile and we’ve found the process to be quite simple. Here’s how you can bypass NBA blackouts with a VPN on PC and on mobile:
Bypass NBA blackouts on PC
Bypassing NBA blackouts on a PC or Mac is simple and only takes a few steps. All you have to do is download and install one of the VPNs mentioned above and connect to a VPN server in a region that’s outside the blackout territory.
If it’s a state-wide blackout, you’ll have to connect to the nearest state. If it’s a nation-wide blackout, you’ll have to connect to another country that’s close to you and is outside of the blackout zone.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Download and install a VPN. We recommend NordVPN.
- Go through the list of servers and connect to one where NBA games aren’t blacked out. For example, if you’re in the USA, you can connect to a server in Mexico.
- Go to the NBA Leagues Pass site and log in.
- Once logged in, start watching your favorite NBA game live!
Bypass NBA blackouts on mobile
Bypassing NBA blackouts on mobile is almost the same as doing it on PC, but it requires an additional step. Other than your IP address, the NBA app on your phone uses location services and GPS to see if you’re in a region where the games are permitted.
To circumvent the apps’ requirements, all you have to do is connect to a VPN on your phone, turn off your location services, and use the browser to access the NBA League Pass instead of the app.
Follow these steps to bypass NBA blackouts on your phone:
- Download and install a VPN app on your phone. We recommend ExpressVPN.
- Connect to a nearby server where live NBA games are allowed. ExpressVPN’s “Smart Location” will automatically connect you to the fastest server.
- Open the NBA League Pass site on your phone’s browser.
- Start enjoying your NBA game!
Why are NBA games blocked on YouTube TV?
Many NBA games are blocked on YouTube TV because local and national networks exclusively hold the rights to air them. These games can’t be viewed anywhere else because no one else is authorized to show them.
Some content will only be available on desktop. This is called “Mobile viewing restriction.” You can circumvent this type of restriction by casting the game to your TV or a computer.
If the content is only available in certain regions, then it’s called “Location-based viewing restriction.” This is more complicated than mobile viewing restrictions as these restrictions are set by content owners.
“Total viewing restriction” is when an entire program isn’t available on a broadcast network due to restrictions set by the network.
NBA games that are blocked on YouTube TV can still be heard live as their audio is available everywhere.
You can learn more about restrictions on YouTube TV here.
Why is my VPN not working with League Pass?
If you’ve encountered an error with your VPN while trying to watch games on NBA League Pass, the first thing you should do is disconnect from the VPN server and connect again. There could be a connection issue which will only go away once you reconnect to the VPN server.
If the issue persists, then we recommend connecting to a different server in a different region. These two solutions will most likely fix whatever problem you’re facing.
In case it still doesn’t work, then try restarting your device and then clearing the cache and cookies before connecting to the VPN. There could also be a problem with the NBA app, in which case you should try force restarting it. Make sure the app is updated to the latest version.
You should also check your Internet connection to make sure there’s nothing wrong with it. If you’re not getting adequate speeds, the VPN connection might drop, preventing you from watching NBA games. You can check your Internet speed on a speed test site like Ookla.
Finally, if nothing else works, check the NBA servers to make sure they’re not down due to maintenance. You can use Twitter to see if other people are talking about it. If the NBA servers are down, then you’ll have no choice but to wait for them to get fixed.
Can I use a free VPN to bypass NBA blackouts?
Yes, there are free VPNs you can use to bypass NBA blackouts, but we don’t recommend using them. Most free VPNs will put your data in jeopardy as they often sell it to advertisers, which is why they let you use their services for free.
Free VPNs are also restricted in terms of the number of servers they provide, so you won’t have as many options and it’ll be difficult to find a server where NBA games aren’t blacked out. Most free VPNs also tend to record your data and retain it even after you’ve stopped using it, which can put your data at risk of getting stolen.
Instead, we recommend using a premium VPN that has a money-back guarantee. NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee and it’s one of the best VPNs on the market. It has over 3,000 servers in 59 countries and all of them run on RAM, which means whatever information it records is wiped out after you disconnect from the server.
Frequently asked questions
No, NBA League Pass only detects your IP address and it can’t tell if you’re using a VPN. When your IP address is changed after connecting to a VPN server, NBA League Pass will detect the new IP address, but won’t know that you’re using a VPN.
Yes, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs to use with NBA League Pass. It has servers in 59 countries and it has lots of advanced security features to make sure your online data always remains safe and hidden. You can easily use NordVPN to encrypt your data, change your IP address, and bypass NBA League Pass blackouts.
Yes, there are plenty of popular VPNs you can use with NBA League Pass. Using a VPN, you can change your IP address and bypass NBA League Pass blackouts to watch live NBA games even if they’re restricted in your area. We recommend NordVPN and ExpressVPN as they’re both great at refreshing your IP address regularly, preventing any third party from detecting your actual location.
NBA TV is blocked in your area because the app can see your IP address and you’re in an area where certain networks have exclusive rights to air NBA games, preventing the NBA app from showing them.